The Battle of Iwo Jima that started on 19 February until 26 March 1945, codename Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces to capture the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Empire during World War II. It had the goal of capturing the entire island, along with its three airfields, to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands.
After the heavy losses incurred in the battle, the strategic value of the island became controversial as it was useless to the U.S. Army as a staging base and useless to the U.S. Navy as a fleet base. However, Navy Seabees rebuilt the landing strips, which were used as emergency landing strips for USAAF B-29s.
The Imperial Japanese Army positions on the island were heavily fortified, with a dense network of bunkers, hidden artillery positions, and 18 km (11 miles) of underground tunnels. The Americans on the ground were supported by extensive naval artillery and complete air supremacy over Iwo Jima from the beginning of the battle.
Iwo Jima was also the only battle by the U.S. Marine Corps in which the American casualties exceeded the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths numbered three times as many American deaths. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled. The majority of the remainder were killed in action, although it has been estimated that as many as 3,000 continued to resist within the various cave systems for many days afterwards, eventually succumbing to their injuries or surrendering weeks later.
This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific of World War II.